We are all very impressed with how much the Muscovies have grown over such a short period of time. Granted, they eat more than the chickens, but I imagine that will slow some as their growth needs also slow. We have picked the 2 drakes we intend to keep to maturity and cull the other 4 next month. In the end, we will cull to just one after we decide which one does the better job with the girls.
I placed the water catchment in the bottom of the pool and put the drying racks on top. The catchment is just a foil pan from the grocery store. I used two racks to make sure the holes were small enough. I could not find anything on the internet about how big a hatching’s feet would be.
I surrounded the catchment with rabbit bedding (bag claims better absorbency) and put the brooder plate in. I keep the legs uneven in height until I know how tall the babies are and adjust accordingly. Right now there’s about a 1 inch gap at the near end and a 3 inch gap at the far end. If the legs settle too much, I’ll drop some 2×4 blocks in to keep it from sinking.
I put the feeder and waterer in to check that everything fit. The red one will be for food, the blue for water. If you follow the cords up to the right, you can see my temperature monitor on the greenhouse rack. My daughter used it for her gecko. It’ll shut the power off at whatever temperature I set it to and I can see at a glance what temperature it currently is. Once I get that stabilized, I’ll add a blanket to put around the back side to reduce drafts. Then we just wait for the eggs to hatch. ^_^
Step 1: I decided to put the hardware cloth around the outside of the kiddie pool to give my ducklings the maximum floorspace. I wrapped the fence around the pool and gave myself a 4 inch overlap.
Step 2: I made sure the cut ends left me some wire to bend and fasten the ends tightly together. Where needed, I cut the vertical wires away from a horizontal to give me longer wire to work with.
Step 3: In order to make the top of the fence fit inside of the kiddie pool lid, I cut darts into the top of the fence to angle it in. I cut 8 squares down and overlapped 2 squares. You have to feel out the fit a few times with whatever lid you use.
I made 8 cuts so the top looks a little like an octagon. Now to finish up with the lid…
Step 4: I drilled 2 holes in opposite sides of the lip of the pool lid. I wired the top onto the fence. One wire acts as a hinge, and the other acts as a closure and holds the lid steady. I’ll post again when I have all the gear inside for the ducklings.
Chickens were our first foray into farm animals. They are funny little creatures; our breeds are inquisitive, gentle, and they have sweet dispositions. Perhaps we raised more chickens than we need but the work they do is invaluable. They have reduced the amount of ticks, grasshoppers, and other insects on the property all while feeding themselves extra protein. Their eggs have fed our family and sometimes we are at a loss to find another recipe to cook to use all the eggs. This spring, they helped us knock down all the old straw bales and spread them out as mulch for the walkways.
I can’t say enough about our humble little chickens and our little homestead would be much poorer without them.